There are two words for reconciliation in Greek. One word “diallasso” means to reconcile two parties that are mutually hostile toward one another. The second word “katallasso” means to reconcile two parties where only one party is hostile toward the other. “Katallasso” is the word used for reconciliation to God. This means that it is man who is hostile to God and has become rebellious by means of his inherent sin nature. It means that mankind is the enemy of God and it is man who needs to be reconciled to God.
Literally, “katallasso” means to change or to exchange (originally referring to money). It came to mean a change from being one’s enemy to being one’s friend. This is the meaning throughout the New Testament. At salvation, the believer is reconciled to God. This means that the believer is no longer God’s enemy but that peace has been made as a result of his change of mind (the true meaning of repentance) towards Christ. (Romans 5:10)
Reconciliation is accomplished by the removal of a barrier that exists between God and man. Once this barrier is removed, the possibility exists for peace between God and man. The barrier that separates God from man is sin. Every person is born with a sin nature, which is passed down genetically from the father. Man also possesses Adam’s original sin, which is imputed to him at birth by God. It is Adam’s original sin that condemns man. Personal sins are committed because man possesses a sin nature.
Since God can have nothing to do with sin, the “sin barrier” must be removed so that mankind can once again have a relationship with God. We are talking about the spiritual mechanics that accomplish this for man. Jesus Christ is the sin-bearer, which means that He was judged for our sin (Adam’s original sin and our personal sins). The judgment of sin satisfied the righteousness and justice of God. The person who accepts Jesus Christ as his “sin-bearer” is immediately reconciled to God, having been placed in union with Him. This means that the believer is no longer God’s enemy, but peace now exists between this individual and God. Since God is not a respecter of persons, anyone (both Jew and Gentile) that believes in Christ as Savior (the sin-bearer) will be reconciled to God.
What Paul shows us in Ephesians 2:14-18 is that everyone in the Church Age (from the Day of Pentecost to the Rapture) who personally believes in Jesus Christ as Savior becomes part of the body of Christ.
Generally speaking, the Jews believed in one God and were very moral. The Gentiles, on the other hand, believed in many gods and were very immoral. Paul shows us that there is no distinction in the body of Christ. There is no racial distinction, no social distinction and no gender distinction. (Galatians 3:28)
“For He is our peace”- Greek “Eirene”- reconciliation, harmony
“who hath made both one”- His Work allows the Jew and the Gentile to be one
“and hath broken down”- Greek “Luo”- destroyed
“the middle wall of partition”- a reference to the temple where Gentiles were allowed into the outer court only
“Having abolished”- Greek “Katargeo”- to cancel, to remove
“in His flesh the enmity”- not in the best manuscripts, probably added by the translators for emphasis
“the law of commandments”- Codex #1: the Moral Code
“the ordinances”- Codex #2: the Spiritual Code
“for to make of Himself”- “in Christ” our positional sanctification
“of twain one new man”- the baptism of the Holy Spirit creates a new spiritual species, in this case both Jew and Gentile are one in Christ
“so making peace”- Greek “Eirene”- reconciliation
“And that He might reconcile” - Greek “Apokatallaso”- to transform or change according to a norm or standard
“both unto God” - the Jew and the Gentile
“in one body” - baptism of the Holy Spirit
“by the Cross” - the means by which this can be accomplished
“having slain” - Greek “Apokteino”- to put to death
“the enmity” - Greek “Echthra”- discord, a barrier
“thereby”- in it (the Cross)
“And came and preached”- Greek “Euaggelizo”- to announce something good, the Gospel (good news)
“peace”- Greek “Eirene”- reconciliation
“to you which were afar off”- Gentiles
“and to them that were nigh”- Jews
“For through Him”- Jesus Christ
“we both”- Jew and Gentile
“have access”- Greek “Prosagoge”- admission, used for gaining an interview with a king
“by one Spirit”- the filling of the Holy Spirit is the only way to gain access to God
“unto the Father”- Greek “Pros”- face to face with
Translation: “Jesus Christ has reconciled both Jew and Gentile believers to God, having destroyed the barrier that separated them from God and cancelled the effects of the Mosaic Law. Thus making in Himself, a new spiritual species from both Jews and Gentiles, which results in reconciliation with God. He did this so that He might change our relationship with God, resulting in the formation of the body of Christ. This is accomplished by Jesus Christ’s work on the Cross in putting to death the discord that previously existed. He came and preached the Gospel of Reconciliation to both the Gentile and the Jew. It is through Jesus Christ under the filling of the Holy Spirit that we can have access to God the Father.
The Cross is the point of reconciliation. This means that Jesus Christ literally took our place on the Cross. Christ was our substitute, accomplishing for us something that we could not accomplish for ourselves, reconciliation to God. Only Christ’s spiritual death (being judged for our sin) could satisfy the holiness (righteousness and justice) of God. Therefore, the spiritual death of Christ on the Cross is the instrument of reconciliation. Man’s good works fall well short of God’s righteousness, but “in Christ” the believer possesses divine righteousness.
It was God that took the initiative, not man. When man takes the initiative in an attempt to reconcile himself to God, this results in some form of religion based on human effort. When God took the initiative, He sent His Son to die as the payment for all sin (past, present and future), which is grace.
Reconciliation takes place instantaneously at salvation. The results cannot be felt or seen; it takes place spiritually. Notice that Colossians 1:21 says we were “aliens and enemies in our minds.” The Greek word for enemy is “echthros” and primarily denotes hatred or hostility. The word also means adversary and is used of Satan. The Greek word for aliens is “apallotrioo” and means to be “estranged from”. This means that prior to salvation we were estranged from and the enemies of God. Since this hatred is in the mind, it is our thinking that needs to be transformed before and after salvation. When a person responds to the message of the Gospel, they automatically change their mind (the true meaning of repentance) from lack of faith in Christ to faith in Christ. For the believer in Christ, peace now exists between him and God and he is no longer estranged from God.
The context of Colossians 1:23 tells us that it is not talking about positional truth, but experiential truth. The “if” clause in verse 23 tells us that it is only potential…“maybe you will be presented blameless and maybe you won’t.” The other result of reconciliation is that the believer is now qualified for a resurrection body. Even though reconciliation takes place while we are in this body, we will be presented to Christ in our resurrection body. The believer now has the potential of being presented blameless, without reproof (unreproveable) before Jesus Christ. The word for blameless and unreproveable in Greek is “anenkletos” and means “with nothing laid to one’s charge after public investigation”. It depends on whether or not you continue in doctrine (the faith), being grounded and settled in the full confidence of the Gospel.
The Greek word for grounded is “themelioo” and would be better translated “foundation” or “founded”. The Greek word for settled is “hedraios” and means “seated”, as in your mind. The word for continue in Greek is “epimeno” and means “to remain on”. In other words, you will be presented with “nothing laid to your account” if you remain on track by building a foundation of accurate doctrinal truth in your mind and not sliding into reversionism.
The believer is not only reconciled to God at salvation, he also becomes God’s ambassador of reconciliation to the world. The Bible says that we are given the Ministry of Reconciliation and the Word of Reconciliation. This means that it is our responsibility to openly and boldly share the Gospel with others and at the same time have a Christ-like character that authenticates the message we are sharing. God uses people to communicate the message of salvation. It is, therefore, imperative that we learn how to share the Gospel with others clearly and effectively. It is not our job to coerce people into “making a decision for Christ”. Our job is simply to make the Gospel clear. The Holy Spirit will make it understandable to the person with positive volition. But let’s be very clear, IT IS OUR JOB TO BE WITNESSES FOR CHRIST.